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In my experience, any time my visit to another country coincided with a national festival, I received a ton of added value. Every person — from the destination’s cab driver to the festival headliner — is feeling the party vibe, which is effortlessly communicated to the visitor. This summer, if you have clients considering a holiday in Saint Lucia, let them know about the full slate of summer festivals on the schedule. Whether they’re foodies, party-goers, cultural travelers or music fans, Saint Lucia has an event for them in 2017.
“With the new season of festivals, Saint Lucia aims to increase tourism arrivals while also creating opportunities for local artists and businesses that will enhance the visibility of the island as a vibrant and diverse cultural destination,” said Dominic Fedee, minister of tourism for Saint Lucia. “We look forward to not only celebrating Saint Lucian traditions, but also serving up a summer of fun and entertainment to visitors and locals alike.”
Saint Lucia Jazz, May 12-14Saint Lucia Jazz is one of the destination’s most enduring festivals, with numerous events held throughout the island. This celebration of Caribbean and international jazz music has its culminating event at the stunning Pigeon Island National Landmark, where splendid sea views can be enjoyed from the top of the historic hill. The 2017 lineup includes Grammy-nominated singer and actress Vanessa Williams; vocalist and musician Rachelle Ferrell; steel-pan drummer Victor Provost; Malavoi, a musical group hailing from Martinique; and many more.
Roots & Soul, June 16-18Roots & Soul takes place over an extra-hip weekend in June, with performances showcasing reggae, conscious hip-hop, Afropunk and R&B music. In addition to live shows, expect master classes overseen by trendsetting musicians and a professional marketplace. Like Saint Lucia Jazz, there will be a mix of free concerts and ticketed events, all held in various parts of the island but with the final event at Pigeon Island National Landmark. The Roots & Soul festival coincides with the launch of Saint Lucia Carnival.
Saint Lucia Carnival, mid-June through mid-JulyDedicated party-goers recognize that the Caribbean knows how to celebrate Carnival. And Saint Lucia is no different, with one party after another held over a 30-day period. Lots of good times include calypso and soca music providing the beat as well as eye-catching costumes. The Parade of the Bands on July 17 and 18 round out Carnival.
Saint Lucia Food & Rum Festival, August 24-27Foodies will flock to the island for a gastronomic festival that includes culinary demonstrations by celebrated chefs, wine and rum events and musical performances. Visitors can expect a mix of international cooking expertise as well as regional products and recipes.
Country & Blues Festival, September 15-17This is country and blues, Saint Lucia style, with lots of regional music and storytelling. Travelers seeking out the festival will be exposed to authentic Saint Lucian music that has a strong base in the island’s folk traditions.
Arts & Heritage Festival, throughout OctoberThis monthlong festival showcases Saint Lucia’s heritage with an assortment of seminars, lectures, performances, culinary experiences, art exhibitions and street parties. The festival builds on the celebration of Creole Day, so visitors can expect to see islanders in authentic and colorful Creole dress.
Soleil - the Summer of Festivalswww.stlucia.org/summerfestival
Saint Lucia Tourist Boardwww.stlucia.org